PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (February 25, 2011) – Sophomore Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) tossed a complete-game gem in his second collegiate start and Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) drove in three runs on three hits to guide the Rutgers baseball team to an 8-2 win over Michigan in the series opener Friday afternoon at Tradition Field inside the spring training complex of the New York Mets. The Scarlet Knights improved to 2-2 on the season, while the Wolverines fell to 0-4 on the year.
Gebler (1-0), who posted a school-record 12 saves as RU’s closer last season, struck out a career-high five batters and allowed just two runs with one walk in a career-long nine innings of work. He retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced in the contest, inducing a game-ending double play to punctuate the victory.
The Scarlet Knights jumped on the board with a run in the first as senior Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) led off the game with a triple to the gap in left-center field and Steve Zavala drove him home on the next play with an infield single.
The Wolverines tied it up in the third when Anthony Toth followed a Patrick Biondi two-out walk with a double to the gap in left-center field to bring home a run.
Rutgers rallied with two outs in the fourth to plate three runs and take the lead for good. With D.J. Anderson (Randolph, N.J.) and Dan Perrine (Scotch Plains, N.J.) at second and third and first base open with two outs in the frame, the Wolverines decided to intentionally walk Lang. A wild pitch by Michigan starter Bobby Brosnahan then allowed each runner to advance with Anderson coming home on the play. On the next play, Zavala drove Perrine and Lang home with a single back up the middle to make it 4-1.
Michigan pushed a run across with two outs in the sixth on a John Lorenz RBI double, but that was as close as the Wolverines would get in the contest.
The Scarlet Knights scored the final four runs of the game to cruise to the victory. Senior Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) hit an inside the park home run in the eighth and RU scored three more runs in the ninth. The Scarlet Knights combined a pair of two-out RBI singles from Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) and Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) with a Michigan throwing error in the final frame.
The win marked Rutgers’ second-straight victory over a Big Ten team. The Scarlet Knights defeated Purdue in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge last season in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Steve Zavala finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.
Brosnahan (0-2) suffered the loss for the Wolverines with four runs allowed on eight hits and three strikeouts in five innings of work.
Rutgers and Michigan will play a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at 11 a.m. at Tradition Field. Sophomore lefty Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) will be on the mound for the Scarlet Knights against senior righty Travis Smith for the Wolverines in game one, while junior righty Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) will get the ball for RU against either sophomore righty Tyler Mills or senior righty Kolby Wood for UM in the nightcap.